(Note: Thanks to Sylvia Snape for these comprehensive minutes)
WEST CUMMINGTON CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
176TH ANNUAL MEETING, MARCH 20, 2016
Present were: Kim Tobin, John Perkins, Wil Hastings, Jeanne Johns, Nancy Cole, David Cole, Sylvia Snape, Laura Sheridan, Hannah Streeter, James Harrison, Hillary Lake, Janet Pixley, Jack Swindlehurst, Vera Hertzberg, Rick Messenger, Mary Hale, Alia Woofenden, Doug McNally, Penny Schultz, Darlene Graham, Nan Clark, John Jones, Connie Talbot.
Began at 11:40
John Jones, Moderator, set ground rules.
Steve (Philbrick) led us in prayer
MINISTER’S REPORT (report in full attached for archives):
1) Steve has list of ceremonies (baptism, wedding, death)
2) Fire is over
3) Get involved. Pipeline resistance, Project: Operation Change, Local Events
4) Community coming together.
WCCC committee membership form was circulated and people were asked to check positions they are willing to fill and cross off those they no longer wish to hold and return the form.
–Steve has been sending inquiries to Jack, Penny, and Narissa asking who will do music each Sunday.
–Norma Jean leaves an opening as she travels to Bosnia and beyond. Her contributions will be missed.
–Village Harmony—2 for this year,
–Ad hoc choir—Penny has a list and will send emails through Laura Sheridan. There is an open invitation to join the music committee.
–Acoustics report: corner sound buffers and back wall panels; are they making a difference? 4 panels remain from the original 8. Feedback will be requested following piano repair in a month or two. She suggested 2 Sundays after the piano is back and asked Steve to send a message via email with his weekly forecast, asking to email Penny with acoustic feedback.
Opening remarks: Open doors, welcoming safe space
–Physical: panic bars, insulation, handicap walkway, lock box on the back door (thanks, Nancy Cole), better lighting, kitchen patrol (Nan, Janet Pixley and others have been working to make the kitchen safer—containers are there to protect from mice)
–Events: Quakers meeting 2x/month, Special events
–Future: so much to be accomplished: Roof, painting, shutters, shingles, rear corner assessment,
foundation assessment Doug mentioned that the church has friends who would be helpful for guidance in these areas. John Perkins suggested reaching out to the congregation to join this committee. Also, he urged us to keep our focus on the major areas of concern: roof, paint, corner repair; not to lose our focus by attending to cosmetics. That can come later when we only need to focus on maintenance rather than repair.
–To deal with this:
Parish House Rehab Committee will be formed; Sherpas will be taking on most of this.
Stewards and Finance will bring organization and process. Next step: call a meeting.
–Nan metioned her mahjong gatherings and welcomes more players.
–Working with the music committee concerning accoustics;
–We need a new light at the church, Toni and Steve are asking for utility pole and street light.
–Yetis suggest eliminating the garden—now a stone garden thanks to the plow. How important is the garden? Rain garden was the plan—can be converted to gravel, then we’ll have more parking.
–Need to cut off the bar on the electric panel box and replace handicap sign, Ask Ken Woofenden if he can do this. Doug acknowledged that Ken has been mowing voluntarily; Alia says he has ideas concerning drainage and landscaping. Wil offered his thanks for their work.
–Doug: we need external lights for the path from front to back of the church.
–Annual window washing on the docket for budget.
–Penny says we need signs at either end of Church Lane announcing the concerts.
–John P: sermon recording? Technical issues? Steve now knows how to formulate the recording to send via email. He will resume sharing the sermons via MP3/emails.
–Broader Mission in upcoming year. Need to pay attention to meeting goals; monthly donations will be arranged and announced well ahead of time. Suggestions for groups to support are welcome.
–Invitation for New Deacons as some are ending their terms.
–Steve: pulpit rotation: Village Church wants it to slow down to a year from now—Spring ’17—because they have some internal things to do. They only meet 2x/year. Next March the 1st circuit will be completed. Discussion followed as to how the rotation could proceed with VC on a slow cycle. Also suggested that VC congregation be surveyed as it seems they like the rotation.
–Food Pantry funds to be raised by story-telling events, perhaps monthly at the Parish House with soup for supper.
–Role of Deacons is to support the spiritual life of the church.
–New member meeting is scheduled for April 1st at the parish house at 6:30, welcoming any and all who are considering joining as members.
–Overlap between spiritual and business/operations
Examples: meeting with Deacons, Stewards, Sherpas regarding Quakers
Parish House upgrades
–Stewards oversee the business operations of the church. Sherpas, Yetis and Finance are under Stewards.
–Fire is no longer an issue thanks to the insurance settlement. Thank you Wil for shepherding us through those weeds.
–Important issues like Quakers using the PH; insuring the viability of the building.
–Sub-committees are doing a great job.
FINANCE AND BUDGET (handouts are included in the archived report)—John Perkins
$83,862 Total Income. Down a little from past 2-3 years.
Q: Is this related to church attendance? A: Probably?
–Suggestion – survey to find out why attendance is down.
–$80,287 Total Expense.
Utilities down – energy efficiency may be paying off.
–Balance Sheets (Handout)
–Fewer people attend=lower offerings; need to survey attendees as to what they are thinking; not a lot of younger people. Demographic/population is changing. No young families coming here. Fewer people are adding to their families.
–John: looking at our budget we can’t assume anything; structure of giving patterns is an issue. We have stop-gaps and need to protect them. There were some large, though not pledged, donations that may or may not continue in future years. WE MUST NOT RELY on these being forthcoming.
–Where is this church going? Our budget needs to reflect the answers to this question.
–The budget passed unanimously.
–This is John Perkins’ final year, ending Dec 31, 2016, on the Finance Committee. His work over the years is greatly appreciated. The changes he has put in place are important to our financial health. We hope the next Chair will be as professional, thoughtful and consciensious as John has been. I has been hinted that a celebration of his service will be forthcoming.
AUCTION COMMITTEE—Darlene on behalf of Polly Ryan:
–Auction date August 15th—it will be held on the 3rd Saturday in October every year hence.
–Need new members on the committee.
DISCUSSION of Church affiliation and possible name change—Sylvia
–Should we consider changing our affiliation away from UCC (United Church of Christ)? Should we consider changing the name of our church to reflect who we are? Discussion group and quesionnaire to follow.
(See attached pages for topic overview and discussion points.)
Respectfully submitted, with thanks to Kim Tobin for supporting notes, which are incorporated herein.